TQC: Queer issues on campus

Some of you may or may not have heard that Trent has a shiny new Strategic Mandate Agreement.

The SMA is a policy that governs what Trent wants to be as a school and it turns out that Trent wants to make it, like, totally official that it really likes LGBTQ identified students.

This should make me really happy. And in a way, I am. Despite everything that is still awful, being LGBTQ friendly and making it official is huge.

And yet … I remain a cynical, worried queer.

Putting something on paper doesn’t guarantee a follow through and since no enhanced services were specified in the SMA, I’m concerned that this may be another case of theory and practice having a gap wider than the Faryon bridge can cross.

I genuinely worry, especially since the Strategic Mandate Agreement states only that Trent will formalize the school’s LGBT reputation “by emphasizing the diversity and inclusiveness of Trent’s student body in marketing materials.”

Does this make any one else feel … a little edgy?

I worry that the advertising will come before the actual support services are set up. And what about creating bridges between the university and the town?

I think I’d feel better if I knew what the “enhanced LGBTQ support services” mentioned in the SMA were actually going to be.

Oh well. Let’s move to something I’m enthusiastic about!

I got the chance, amid much ISW madness to sit down with Boykin Smith (the TCSA’s VP ethics and campaigns.) and ask him a little bit about the union’s campaigns for the coming year. The new school year means I get to spend so much of my time plugging everything any one could possibly do when not in class or asleep, so I will keep this brief.

Of the various TCSA campaigns, the “Reject Stereotypes, Embrace Humanity” and “Safe, Sexy, Consensual” are the most closely related to queer issues.

The former aims at challenging and drawing attention to the myriad of stereotypes people force on other people without realizing it. It is, especially at a time with so many shiny new ideas floating around, important to rethink some obvious (or less so) stereotypes we have about our fellow humans. It shows how words can seem innocuous, but common vernacular has all kinds of values and prejudices wrapped up in it.

The latter is a campaign focusing on sex positivity and consent (which, let’s be real, is mandatory). Some specific events to look up and learn more about will be guest speakers dealing with stereotypes, slut shaming, and anti-oppression training.

Boykin stressed to me that he wants all of his campaigns to be inclusive and plans to form a “Campus Action Team” to encourage students to get involved. Stay tuned, and check out trentcentral.ca/campaigns for more info.

Up coming things for TQC:

Clubs and Groups day outside of Bata. When? Next Tuesday 10 am to 4 pm. Come and sign up for all the mailing lists, and learn why everyone is so busy. There are so many ways to get involved.

Come check ‘em out!

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